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BACKGROUND: Dendritic cells (DCs) not only play a crucial role in activating immune cells but also suppressing them. We recently investigated SHIP's role in murine DCs in terms of immune cell activation and found that TLR agonist-stimulated SHIP-/- GM-CSF-derived DCs (GM-DCs) were far less capable than wild type (WT, SHIP+/+) GM-DCs at activating T cell proliferation. This was most likely because SHIP-/- GM-DCs could not up-regulate MHCII and/or co-stimulatory receptors following TLR stimulation. However, the role of SHIP in DC-induced T cell suppression was not investigated. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study we examined SHIP's role in DC-induced T cell suppression by co-culturing WT and SHIP-/- murine DCs, derived under different conditions or isolated from spleens, with αCD3+ αCD28 activated WT T cells and determined the relative suppressive abilities of the different DC subsets. We found that, in contrast to SHIP+/+ and -/- splenic or Flt3L-derived DCs, which do not suppress T cell proliferation in vitro, both SHIP+/+ and -/- GM-DCs were capable of potently suppressing T cell proliferation. However, WT GM-DC suppression appeared to be mediated, at least in part, by nitric oxide (NO) production while SHIP-/- GM-DCs expressed high levels of arginase 1 and did not produce NO. Following exhaustive studies to ascertain the mechanism of SHIP-/- DC-mediated suppression, we could conclude that cell-cell contact was required and the mechanism may be related to their relative immaturity, compared to SHIP+/+ GM-DCs. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that although both SHIP+/+ and -/- GM-DCs suppress T cell proliferation, the mechanism(s) employed are different. WT GM-DCs suppress, at least in part, via IFNγ-induced NO production while SHIP-/- GM-DCs do not produce NO and suppression can only be alleviated when contact is prevented.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Amino Acids, Animals, Arginase, Cell Adhesion, Cell Proliferation, Coculture Techniques, Dendritic Cells, Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor, Immunosuppression, Inositol Polyphosphate 5-Phosphatases, Interferon-gamma, Lymphocyte Activation, Mice, Models, Immunological, Nitric Oxide, Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases, T-Lymphocytes